John Lewis Partnership: JLAB
In 2014, L Marks and John Lewis created JLAB, the UK's first retail innovation labRead more
Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación, S.A. (DIA) is a Spanish multinational supermarket chain specialising in the distribution of food, household & personal care products, with 7,799 stores across Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil and China, of which 51% operate through a franchise business model. Serving 40 million customers worldwide and employing over 40,000 staff, it is Europe’s third largest food sector franchiser.
In 2017, L Marks launched its first Innovation Lab in Spain with DIA to enable them to work with startups to shape the supermarket experience of the future. Participating startups were given access to DIA’s customer base and used data and customer insights to create shopping experiences that would surprise and delight customers.
Of the 119 startups that applied, 24 were invited to compete for a place on the collaboration programme at Pitch Day in Madrid. Five startups were selected to join the Lab and trial their solutions with DIA and customers across Spain. A truly international programme, the programme saw startups from Spain, Israel, Russia, Denmark and the UK develop their technologies in partnership with DIA within the DIA Headquarters in Las Rozas.
The startups ran pilots and PoCs during the 10-week programme with DIA employees, customers, data sets and in-store trials to demonstrate the impact of their solutions on the wider business. All the teams extended their trials with DIA beyond the programme.
“As an expression of DIA Group’s desire to continue innovating and looking for partnerships that add value to the business, we launched Nexus by DIA , our first innovation platform with startups.
Our main objective was to search for talent around the world, accelerating our digital transformation, learning new ways of working in order to develop the shopping experience that our customers are demanding but also what our future customers will require. I am convinced these collaborations will provide DIA and the startups with excellent learnings.”
Ricardo Currás, CEO DIA
Wasteless allows supermarkets to sell more and waste less. The solution leverages dynamic pricing that lets consumers choose how much they want to pay for a product based on its expiration date. Wasteless continuously monitors stock levels, and if an item is almost out of stock, the store is alerted. If it has been on the shelf for too long, the price can be automatically reduced. This means supermarkets never run out of their customers’ favourite products and also do not have to dispose of products due to expiration. Wasteless recaptures lost revenue opportunities like food waste cost and out-of-stock costs, and creates new revenue opportunities by increasing the availability of products.
During the 10-week engagement, the Wasteless team worked closely with DIA’s Digital Transformation Supply Chain Director to improve their solution and prepare for deployment in the Spanish market. Following the completion of the programme, Wasteless’s technology was further interated to fit within DIA’s supply chain and trialled within one store. Following this trial, the dynamic pricing solution was rolled our across further stores, reducing out-of-stock (OOS) items and leveraging more sales for DIA.
The results of the partnership between Wasteless and DIA was showcased in a report by BBC News in November 2023: “Why food discount stickers may be a thing of the past“.
Plant Jammer is an AI-generated “flavour landscape” that tells users which ingredients work well together, making it quicker and easier to create a diverse range of dishes. The team has built a neural network of ingredients based on two million recipes and has combined this with a gastronomic understanding of what constitutes a good dish to create an interface for creating new recipes. The result is a never-ending digital cookbook.
During the 10 weeks working with DIA at the company’s head office in Madrid, Plant Jammer tested its product for the Spanish market with DIA Club App users, bloggers and website users. Impressed with the outcomes of the trials, DIA chose to continue working with Plant Jammer following the completion of the collaboration programme, continuing the work of integrating the startup’s technology with DIA’s systems.